LITTLE JOHN by Theodor Storm


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Though more successful than The Uproar (1970), this is another Orgel-Lobel collaboration whose substance never lives up to the dreamlike and billowy pictures. Based on a 19th-century German tale, it relates the night voyage of Little John who ties his nightgown to his toe for a sail, then trundles himself in his trundle bed around his room, through the town, into the woods and right up to the moon, only to tumble out of bed and into the sea with the emergence of the sun (whose face, like an angry oriental mask, would waken any dreamer). But Little John neither wakens in his room nor meets the fate of Icarus. Instead, ""What happened? Don't you remember? You and I came along just in time, and took Little John in our boat with us, and rowed him safely to shore."" Though Storm's fantasy of flight is an accessible starting point, the coy conclusion (whether Storm's or Orgel's) is all the more of a let-down.

Pub Date: March 15th, 1972
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux